For the women who feel oppressed at the sight of all the high-heeled emoji shoes, have no fear: women are getting flat shoe emoji.
The Unicode Consortium, which maintains and decides how universal text looks on software programs including emoji, has released the new set of emoji for 2018. And in addition to some major advances in emoji representation like redheads, curly hair, and a woozy, drunk-looking face, comes a new sensible ballet flat (bow or no bow to be determined.)
The proposal for a flat women’s shoe was submitted by Floriane Hutchinson as another option to heeled shoes because she believes the shorter option transcends fashion trends. She also includes data from Instagram and Googletrends to prove how popular flat shoes are. In her abstract she writes:
I am requesting the addition of a WOMAN’S FLAT SHOE emoji to complement the existing footwear emoji category. A non-heeled version of the functional SHOE would fill a notable gap in the current emoji set as the stiletto, boot, and mule all possess substantial heels while the brogue is a classic men’s style and the trainer/sneaker is undeniably sporty. Featuring a very thin heel, the casual FLAT SHOE style can but does not necessarily need to include a ribbon-like binding around the low top of the slipper. A FLAT SHOE would help pave the way to a more gender non-sexualized pictorial representation of the footwear category.
In an Atlantic article about her decision to submit a flat shoe Hutchinson says she has no problem with a high-heeled shoe, rather her problem was with the fact that Unicode treated it as the default women’s shoe. “I just think it’s one of those things that, at the time, to whoever designed it, it seemed like a sensible thing that women would immediately gravitate to,” she wrote of the high-heeled shoe options. “But with a bit of hindsight, you realize that this is systematic—and symptomatic of a greater problem.” We can’t all be like the Dancer Emoji, suspended in salsa dance for eternity. My feet hurt now just even thinking about her.
And while I may associate ballet flats with Blair Waldorf, Hutchinson has a point. Even though I still can’t help but purse my lips and think, flat shoes? For Emoji? Groundbreaking.